Madison Co. teen pleads guilty in baby sister's death

RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - A Madison County teenager now admits she killed her baby sister.

Jessica Marcum pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon in Madison Circuit Court to manslaughter in the death of Bella Rose Marcum.

Marcum was 17 when she killed her sister in Richmond last summer. She was supposed to be caring for the 9-month-old when investigators say she suffocated the baby.

Marcum had been charged as an adult with capital murder and faced life in prison. As part of her plea deal, she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of first degree manslaughter.

In court, Marcum talked about what happened on the day her sister died. "I got frustrated. I put my hand on her head and held it down. I did that so she would go to sleep. I ended up smothering her to death and she later died at the hospital," Marcum told the judge.

As part of the deal, prosecutors recommended a 12-year prison sentence. Because it's a violent crime, Marcum, who is now 18, will have to serve at least 85% of her sentence which would be ten years.

Formal sentencing is set for October 16 at 1:30 p.m.

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